Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nutrageous Nogalera

If there is such a thing as heaven on earth, it must be this La Nogalera Walnut Oil we Tarts stumbled upon at the 3rd St. Promenade Farmers' Market. At 25 dollars for 500ml, this Tart Treat is worth every George Washington and turns something dull into a goodie from walnut heaven. Erin dribbled it on steamed brown rice, chicken and veggies, while Danielle drizzled it on avocado toast with crushed red chili pepper.

A Tart Tip: Keep this oil on lockdown; there are thieves among us...

The 500 mls should last you awhile, unless you're a junkie and drink it on the rocks with a twist. "Hi. We are CrispyTarts and we are addicted to walnut oil." Phew...feels good to get it out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Huffing and Puffing for Pastry

Okay, so I, Danielle, may not be the son of a son of a sailor, but I am the daughter of a daughter of a pie crust snob. In other words, we DO NOT BUY crust. We may have driven an ugly orange Buick and worn hand-me-down jeans...but darn it, our pie crust was homemade. I used to laugh at my mother, who upon tasting a pie with “purchased” crust, would slightly turn up her nose, a bit of judgment registering on her face. But now, shamefully, I find myself doing the very same thing. It’s not intentional; more of an involuntary response. If you show up at my house with a pumpkin pie purchased from Ralph’s, you might as well punch me in the face. I am a Crustzilla, and if that’s jerky, then so be it. I accept my fate.

Last Saturday morning, I had Erin over and decided to 'throw together' a Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart from one of our fave blogs, Fresh365, and the recipe calls for puff pastry; a patisserie I had yet to undertake. Most people buy their pastry and if you’re sane, you will too. I, on the other hand, am bananas, so I tube’d "How to make puff pastry" and found this video from Mrs. Glaze and Chez Tse. I watched it, which would soon prove pointless, as Tarts do not retain info. And as luck would have it, the ingredients were listed in European measurements (I had yet to find this awesome website that converts it for you), but I was not to be deterred and despite butter that was too soft and poking through my dough, I somehow fashioned this.

Now the crust wasn’t flawless, but Erin didn't care. I couldn't quite deduce what she was saying through heaps of tart, but I think it was something like “Holy crap! OMG. OMG.” This is a truly ridonculous recipe and rates very high on the Tart Chart. Thanks Fresh365! We heart you!

Whew! So the first attempt at puff pastry was a minor success, but it unfortunately gave us Tarts a hankering for more. After slamming it down our throats, Erin looked at me with crazy eyes and said, “Wanna make some more?!” I looked outside, at the beautiful California weather begging us to throw down our rolling pins and soak up some rays, then pathetically replied "Let's puff some pastry!"

We opted for a Peach Tart Tatin using our previous pastry recipe but followed this one for the peach part, substituting agave nectar for corn syrup, b/c the thought of c.s. makes us barf. We set to rolling again, this time with very cold butter which made a huge difference. I had a bit of trouble keeping the pastry mat still, so I improvised...

A Tart will do what a Tart’s gotta do!

Even if she’s not happy about it...

Note to Tarts: More strength training.

Yet the sore biceps were worth it when we cut the dough in half and saw this...

What, what???!!! You can see the layers of dough and butter!!! Isn't that amazing???!!! Anyone? Bueller? Fine. Whatever. It doesn't matter because I dropped it while putting it in the oven and it morphed into this...

Ahhhhhhhh!!!! I must say, I lost it and screamed for a few minutes. But never fear when another Tart is near. Erin, God bless her, reminded me we had enough leftover dough to go it again...


Yumtacular. Too bad we can't eat it. I mean, we already ate a whole tart. That would be gross, right? Erin? Erin?! Step away from the tart!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pizza at Home

I, Erin, spent half of my life in NYC, where great pizza is aplenty. At $1.25 a slice, I absorbed as much of it as I could, stuffing my face while running to my next appointment. It never crossed my mind to make my OWN pizza. Well, here I am, now living in sunny California, with a yard, a grill and a farmers market that inspires fresh, healthy cooking (along with a bit of frustration and occasional snapping at my hub...sorry hon.) So I figure, why not try to make our own?! Come on over Danielle and let's make pizza!

We used the recipe via sproutedkitchen, enchanted with the idea of a 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour crust. The chives in the dough were a great addition, although it turned out a little thicker then we envisioned. I think the problem was not rolling it out; I used my fists. Note to Tarts: Always listen to your partner (in my case, the French)

The fig and goat cheese was divine and a hit with Hamilton, my hub and Ryan, Danielle's lifer, aka The Hotcakes. Wouldn't change or add a thing. Yum. Thanks sproutedkitchen!

We also did our own twist on a classic Pizza Margarita by spreading the crust with an artichoke spread from Whole Foods and then adding heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and some basil. Wow!

Next, we had my hub throw them on the grill and he patiently took my periodic "Don't let them Burn!!" instructions in stride. Sorry hon....we might be crispy, but we don't do burnt!

Now, take a look at this pretty lady...

We also recommend cooking or grilling the dough for at least 3 min on each side before adding the toppings and cooking for an additional 10 min. That's what the recipe said to do, but neither Tart is good at retaining info and rereads a recipe, like, oh I'd say...20 times. WTF?! Perhaps, it's the delicious Rosé we find ourselves sipping while cooking. Note to Tarts: Drink after cooking. Wait, that's no fun. Scratch that.

So will I, Erin, loyal NYC pizza lover, make my own pizza again? I have to say, I'm somewhat devoted to finding that perfect recipe. Healthy, yet NYC delicious. I'll be working on it for sure. And as for Danielle...Danielle? Hmmm, well, I'll have to find out when she's finished stuffing her face. Now, where'd I put my wine?